Aliana Ho was the winner in the high school division of the “Through the Eyes of Kauai Youth Photo Challenge.”
“My mother is a photographer and I take pictures, too, but not too often,” the 14-year-old said. “My family encouraged me to join the contest so I did.”
The photo challenge was posed to Kauai youth, grades six through 12, in early August. Students had about a month to submit photos along the lines of two themes: What would you like to see more of on Kauai, and what would you like to see less of on Kauai?
Ho’s winning photo was of a baby chicken, working its way out of an egg. She also submitted photos of bees.
“I decided to take pictures of living things,” Aliana said. “What I want to see on Kauai is more bees and less chickens.”
It was Aliana’s mom who found the egg, she said. It was alone in an otherwise empty nest and so her mom took it home.
“It took a couple of days to hatch, so we had the chance to take pictures,” Aliana said.
She’s targeted chickens, because Kauai is notorious for their extensive population.
“They are a highly invasive species and they’re destructive,” Aliana said. “That is a good example of how easily the balance in the ecosystem can be thrown off.”
Along with a title, Aliana won $200 cash and a Sunrise Photo Safari tour. The top middle school photo also garnered cash, as well as a Go-Pro Hero3.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do with the money,” Aliana said. “Probably save it for whatever occasion I need it for.”
More than 150 photographs were entered into the contest, and photo subjects range from littered beaches and neglected animals, to family outings and breathtaking sunsets.
The top 50 photos are going to be on display at the Through the Eyes of Kauai Youth Photo Challenge Exhibit, opening at the Kauai Community College One Stop Center on Oct. 5.
A grand opening, open to the community, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and many of the photographers will be there to discuss their photographs.
The photo contest was the brainchild of Keiki to Career and Kauai Planning and Action Alliance as a way to get feedback from young people on what they want for the future of Kauai.
“We want to improve the lives of our young people and find out how we can help them live their dreams,” said Marion Paul, Keiki to Career coordinator. “We wanted their opinions and we thought a photo contest was a good way to do it instead of having them write essays.”
Paul said this is the first year they’ve held the photo contest and they were hoping to have at least 50 participants.
“We got three times the response that we were hoping for,” Paul said. “It’s been amazing.”
The whole idea of the photo contest, Paul said, was to hear the stories of Kauai youth, and she said she felt that goal has been accomplished.
“The photos show what the kids see and how they feel about the island,” Paul said. “Drop by the exhibit and check it out, you’ll see some amazing photos.”